My Week in Books {2/19/20}

FINALLY – a week of good and consistent reading! It feels like forever since I’ve enjoyed my reading life.

I finished four books this week which is much closer to my usual pace. I think the biggest difference is that I actually enjoyed what I read – it didn’t feel like a struggle. I had two 5-star reads back-to-back…and NO DNF’s this week! 🙌🏼

What have you been reading (and loving) this week?

In case you missed them, here are some of my most recent posts:

Last Week’s Reads:

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📖 The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls by: Anissa Gray

I was so impressed with this debut novel! I saw it all over booksta last year and for whatever reason I never picked it up…I’m kicking myself now! 🙄

I love a book with hidden secrets that are revealed over time. Secrets that make you understand why a character is the way they are, and how those secrets impact who they’ve become and how they then relate to one another. This book nails that dynamic so well.

This is a story about a family – three daughters and one brother – and what happens with the oldest (and stand-in mother figure to the other siblings), Althea, is sentenced to prison after her husband and her are convicted of a crime. Althea’s daughters, Baby Vi and Kim, are left swirling in the aftermath of their parents’ crime, and the siblings come together to help take care of them as best as they can. Through the transitionary process, deep secrets begin to emerge and old hurts are brought to life.

The course of this book is only a few days with flashbacks to childhood, but I became so attached and invested in these lives that I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. I loved Gray’s writing and felt like I was absolutely immersed in her storytelling.

There are trigger warnings for disordered eating and childhood trauma and abuse.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ | Berkley Books | Pub Date: February 19, 2019 | 304 Pages | Hardcover | Purchase via Bookstore Link

📖 *** The Girl With the Louding Voice by: Abi Daré

After the first chapter, I wasn’t sure I could read this entire book due to its syntax…but I was wrong, and I couldn’t imagine the story being told any other way!

This is an incredible coming-of-age (my favorite!) debut novel. Adunni is a 14-year-old girl who her father marries off to an old man who already has two wives, but no sons. Her sole purpose is to bear him a son, but after a tragedy happens, Adunni is forced to run away. She then becomes a housemaid for a wealthy woman in Lagos. There, she meets some of the best (and worst) people and she fights for her dream of furthering her education to become a teacher and to have a “loading voice”.

While parts of Adunni’s story is hard to read (trauma, abuse, rape, oppression, etc), the core of who Adunni is and what she stands for is heartwarming. I couldn’t help but cheer her on and hope the best for her. I also loved the secondary characters – Tia and Kofi. The way they took risks and had Adunni’s best interests at heart added so much texture to the story.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ |Dutton | Pub Date: February 4, 2020 | 384 Pages | Hardcover | Purchase via Bookstore Link

📖 Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle by: Emily and Amelia Nagoski

Because this is the #HWRbooks selection for February, I’ll keep most of my comments for the discussion on February 22 (you can find me that at: @happiestwhenreading.) Overall, I liked this book (A LOT in the beginning, but slowly lost interest by the end). It has some great insight, but as a person who has already negotiated a lot of the advice given within the pages, it was redunant information for me personally. If you’re new to discovering why you feel like crap all the time, this book will be extremely helpful for you! Please head to Instagram on Saturday to participate in the book discussion!

⭐️⭐️⭐️ | Ballantine | Pub Date: March 26, 2019 | 277 Pages | Hardcover | Purchase via Bookstore Link

📖 Tuesday Mooney Talks To Ghosts by: Kate Racculia

For a book that started off well, it slowly lost its momentum and eventually kind of fizzled out for me. When a billionaire dies, he sends the public on a scavenger hunt. Tuesday Mooney is quickly drawn in as she is naturally inclined to research and putting together pieces of puzzles. I really loved Tuesday Mooney – she’s a quirky character that gave me Eleanor Oliphant vibes (though I didn’t like Eleanor). She’s sort of that nerdy and lonely person that you can’t help but root for. Most of the story I really liked, it’s just that there were a lot of characters to keep straight and the story jumped around quite a bit. It wasn’t that it was hard to keep track of – it just interrupted the flow. I can’t quite put my finger on what went wrong for me, but I couldn’t care less how it wrapped up at the end.

⭐️⭐️⭐️ | Houghton Mifflin Harcourt | Pub Date: October 8, 2019 | 359 Pages | Hardcover | Purchase via Bookstore Link

Currently Reading:

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🎧 *** Open Book by: Jessica Simpson

I just started this one yesterday and I’m hooked! Jessica Simpson narrates this one herself and it’s really good. She’s open and vulnerable and honest, and I can’t wait to keep listening!

Dey Street Books | Pub Date: February 4, 2020 | 416 Pages | Audiobook | Purchase via Bookstore Link

📖 *** The Water Will Come: Rising Seas, Sinking Cities, and the Remaking of the Civilized World by: Jeff Goodell

This book is interesting! Full of scientific fact that details the urgency we must be making right now in order to help out our planet, my heart actually hurts while reading this. Maybe not so much for myself, but so much for my children and future grandchildren. I’m not sure what kind of world we’re going to be handing them, but this book is a good glimpse of where we’re headed…and it’s not good!

Little Brown | Pub Date: October 24, 2017 | 352 Pages | Hardcover | Purchase via Bookstore Link

🎧 *** Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor by: Layla F. Saad

I didn’t realize this is a workbook so I started it on audiobook. I do have the hard copy as well, so I may end up switching back and forth! I’m only a few chapters in and it’s been mostly settin gthe book up, so I’ll need to get further into it to have an opinion.

Sourcebooks | Pub Date: February 4, 2020 | 256 Pages | Hardcover | Purchase via Bookstore Link

Book Flights Vol. 2

It’s been awhile since I’ve done a book pairing! Check out my other posts similar to this one here:

Screen Shot 2020-02-11 at 9.26.22 PMImagine Me Gone by: Adam Haslett + Marlena by: Julie Buntin

Imagine Me Gone is really about mental illness, but it also deals heavily with prescription medicine and how it seems to be overprescibed to some patients. It’s a slow, slow burn with an explosive ending that really gave me an inside look at the prescription drug epidemic. Marlena is a dark and gritty novel about two young girls who are seemingly opposites of each other. When Cat moves to Marlena’s rural town, they quickly become friends and Cat is exposed to a whole new world of drugs and addiction.

***Only got time for one? This is tough…I think Marlena is more readable, but Imagine Me Gone (my review) packs a punch if you don’t mind a slow burn.

Screen Shot 2020-02-11 at 9.28.31 PMThis Is How It Always Is by: Laurie Frankel + Sissy: A Coming-of-Gender Memoir by: Jacob Tobia

What happens when your son (anatomically speaking) comes to you and says she wants to be a girl? This Is How It Always Is is the story of how one (fictional) family handles that scenario. As one of my all-time favorite books, it pairs perfectly with the memoir, Sissy: A Coming-of-Gender Story where Jacob Tobia tells their story with a fierceness and vulnerabilty that I admire so much.

***Only got time for one? Again, tough call. I really loved the family in This Is How It Always Is (my review), but Sissy (my review) is great beacause nothing beats an #ownvoices book based on real life.

Screen Shot 2020-02-11 at 9.30.27 PMThe Night Circus by: Erin Morgenstern + The Orphan’s Tale by: Pam Jenoff

While The Orphan’s Tale is the book that actually presents a story that’s engaging, I think pairing it with The Night Circus allows the circus to truly come to life. Morgenstern writes so atmospherically – it’s as if you are actually witnessing the circus in person! Again, if you’re looking for a story and characters with depth and set in WWII, The Orphan’s Tale is a great book!

***Only got time for one? The Orphan’s Tale (my review) if you love historical fiction and stories centered around the Nazis. The Night Circus (my review) if you love an atmospheric novel with amazing world building and you don’t mind it lacking in character and story development.

Screen Shot 2020-02-11 at 9.36.02 PMBeartown by: Fredrik Backman + Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town by: Jon Krakauer + Know My Name by: Chanel Miller

At the heart of Beartown (my review) is a town obsessed with their high school hockey team. When their star player is accused of rape, the team and town are torn apart. Missoula is a narrative nonfiction book that takes it a step further and examines a college campus (Univeristy of Montana) riddled with rape and sexual assault. Lastly, Know My Name (my review) give the reader a survivor’s perspective and an insightful look into our broken justice system and how society seems to be immune to toxic masculinity.

***Only got time for one? I sound like a broken record right about now, but all three of these are worth reading!

Screen Shot 2020-02-11 at 9.32.54 PMAll That You Leave Behind by: Erin Lee Carr + The Rules of Inheritance by: Claire Bidwell Smith

Both of these memoirs are ruminations on the authors’ relationships with their deceased parents. In All That You Leave Behind (my review), Carr relays valuable lessons and pieces of advice given to her by her father. It’s clear they had a close relationship and David Carr (a former New York Times journalist) was inspirational to Erin Lee Carr as she followed in her footsteps to become a writer. While Carr’s book is much more professionally balanced, Smith’s book, The Rules of Inheritance, is much more wild and rebellious, though no less nuanced and depth – really just a difference in writing style. Smith lost both of her parents at a young age and has become a grief expert, helping others through their grief over lost loved ones.

***Only got time for one? Read The Rules of Inheritance!

What are some of your suggestions for book pairings?

 

 

 

My Week in Books {2/12/20}

My reading has slowed waaaaay down…so far, I’ve only read two books this month. When I’m used to knocking out two books a week, I’m shocked. It kind of bugs me, but I also remember that one of my goals was to read less this year. I’m really trying to focus on quality vs quantity…or at least I think I am until I see those numbers and it starts to stress me out.

My low count isn’t because I’m not trying…I think since I decided to participate in The Unread Shelf 2020, I have been giving myself permission to put books down that aren’t working for me. Sometimes I may be halfway through the book! I’ve been asking myself, “This book is feeling like a 3-star read…do you really care if you actually finish it?” And the answer inevitably keeps being no.

So my book count is low, but I am making new space on my shelves (a goal for 2020) so I’m still going to count this situation as a win!

In case you missed them, here are some links to my recent posts:

What have you been reading (and loving) this week?

Last Week’s Reads:

Screen Shot 2020-02-11 at 4.48.42 PM*** Lovely War by: Julie Berry

Honestly? Slap an Eiffel Tower image on any book cover and I’m sure to add it to my TBR, so thank goodness when that silly reason for picking up a book pays off! 🙌🏼

I really loved this book and couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. It has one of the most unique premises for a book I’ve ever heard of – the narrators of the story are a rich cast of Greek mythological characters.

The book is set during The Great War (WWI) and it follows two couples and the hardships they must endure while trying to navigate a world at conflict. It has romance, friendship, strength, and survival…weaving it all together in the most beautiful way.

Because historical fiction is so often set in WWII, I was excited to read a book that talked about WWI instead. I have little knowledge of that time period and what led up to the war, so I was hoping I would gain some insight into some of those issues from this book. Unfortunately, it is not rich in historical context – it’s really more about the characters than the war itself. Though a little disappointing, this issue did not ditract from the book at all.

Also, don’t let the categorization of “YA Romance” or Greek mythology deter you. I didn’t feel like this read as a YA at all, and the Greek characters are only there to narrate the story. Any necessary information is provided through the text.

Overall, this was a fantastic read and I know it will stick with me for awhile!

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ | Viking Books for Young Readers | Pub Date: March 5, 2019 | 480 Pages | Hardcover | Purchase via Bookstore Link

 

📖 The Gown: A Novel of the Royal Wedding by: Jennifer Robson

Every review I see of this book has glowing reviews. I’ve been meaning to pick it up for some time and to finally urge me to do so, I added it to my Unread Shelf: Top 10 TBR List for 2020.

While I definetly enjoyed the story and would recommend it to others, it did fall a little flat to me. I knew going in that it was about the embroiderers of Queen Elizabeth’s wedding dress, but I still thought there would be more royalty in the story. It was also divided into three separate narrarators – Ann, Miriam, and Heather – so I totally found myself more interested in one storyline than the others.

Miriam’s story was the most interesting to me and I would love a book alone about her and her life in France (prior to coming to England). I enjoyed Ann and loved her character, but I felt like Robson just dropped her by the end of the book. It was almost as if she ran out of things to write so she gave Ann this grand escape and we literally learned nothing more from her. After spending 85% of the book with her, this felt like a huge disappointment to me. Lastly, Heather was the modern day storyline that helped piece together the past, but I found so much of her story eyeroll worthy and just a little too convienent. I hate when an author makes things so obvious that the reader can tell she’s using that as a way to make the rest of the story fit and Heather’s part of the book was full of these hints.

Again, this was a good book and I think a lot of people would really enjoy it. I just wanted something more from it that was never really delivered.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ | William Morrow | Pub Date: December 31, 2018 | 388 Pages | Hardcover | Purchase via Bookstore Link

Currently Reading:

Screen Shot 2020-02-11 at 4.51.13 PM📖 Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle by: Emily and Amelia Nagoski

This is the #HWRbooks selection for February! If you’d like to join in on the discussion, all you have to do is read the book by February 22, and then read and comment on my post on instagram that day! (You can find me here: @happiestwhenreading.)

I’m about halfway through and it has given me A LOT to think about!

Ballantine | Pub Date: March 26, 2019 | 277 Pages | Hardcover | Purchase via Bookstore Link

 

📖 The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls by: Anissa Gray

I’m not too far into this one, but I feel like it’s going to be a solid 4- or 5-star read for me!

Berkley Books | Pub Date: February 19, 2019 | 304 Pages | Hardcover | Purchase via Bookstore Link

 

🎧 *** Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor by: Layla F. Saad (Sourcebooks) – Pub Date: February 4, 2020

I didn’t realize this is a workbook so I started it on audiobook. I do have the hard copy as well, so I may end up switching back and forth! I’m only a few chapters in and it’s been mostly settin gthe book up, so I’ll need to get further into it to have an opinion.

Sourcebooks | Pub Date: February 4, 2020 | 256 Pages | Hardcover | Purchase via Bookstore Link

DNF (aka: Not For Me and/or Skipping For Now):

Screen Shot 2020-02-11 at 4.53.44 PM📖 There Will Be No Miracles Here by: Casey Gerald (Riverhead) – Pub Date: October 2, 2018

I read the first couple of chapters and decided it is too densely written for where I’m at right now in my reading life. The premise sounds amazing, so I may return to it in the future; but for now, I’m putting it down.

#DNFingWithoutApologyin2020

Riverhead | Pub Date: October 2, 2018 | 394 Pages | Purchase via Bookstore Link

Things I Loved in January!

Movies:

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Rocketman ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ – Elton John is just one of those celebrities I can’t get enough of. I grew up on his music, I’ve been to several concerts, and after reading this book, I’m more enamored by him than ever!

Which also reminds me of Bohemian Rhapsody, a movie I LOVED last year. While I know Queen’s music, I didn’t know much about Freddy Mercury. This movie was so well done and I still rewatch it from time to time.

TV:

Screen Shot 2020-02-08 at 12.59.56 PMThe Circle – Netflix – An interesting look into social media…how do we judge people when all we know about them is their internet presence? Do we judge them by the profile picture they’ve posted? By the way they’ve chosen to portray themselves? By their gender? By the color of their skin? By their weight? What I loved about this one is the way they came together at the end. Sure, some of it was annoying, but I’m glad I followed to the end. Social media is always a trigger for me – I deleted all my personal accounts six months ago and only have my #bookstagram and Twitter accounts now. I’m concerned by the way it’s changing our society – and maybe I’m being pessimistic – but it seems to be more for the worse than the good. This show flipped some of my thoughts upside down though.

Screen Shot 2020-02-08 at 1.00.53 PMVirgin River – Amazon – The acting was a little B-list for me, but I was still sucked into the story and binge watched the whole season in a weekend. Eagerly anticipating the new episode out sometime this spring.

 

 

 

 

Screen Shot 2020-02-08 at 1.01.50 PMThe Game Changers – Netflix – Well, if this documentary didn’t flip upside down all my thoughts about nutrition! I love anything that speaks about elite atheltes and competitors, so that’s what initially made me watch this. I didn’t know it was slanted to nutrition and veganism, and while I love my meat, I was enthralled with the information presented and immediately started googling vegan recipes. I’m going to sit with this one a little bit longer and see where I can incorporate some of these ideas into my current diet.

Screen Shot 2020-02-08 at 1.02.59 PMCheer – Netflix – Omg…stop everything and go watch this. I know, I know…cheerleading?? No, thank you! But how wrong I was (and you will be too if you don’t watch it)! This series is incredible! By the end, I felt like I was missing out on life because I’m not personally part of the Navarro Cheer Family (err, Team). Monica Aldama (the coach) is incredible – the opitome of what a coach should be. Jerry and his laugh and endless encouragement is what I strive to be in life. And Gabby’s parents suck. Seiously, GO WATCH NOW!

Screen Shot 2020-02-08 at 1.03.53 PMKiller Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez – Netflix – About a year ago, I listened to the podcast, Gladiator: Aaron Hernandez and Football Inc. Of course there’s overlap in the stories, but I really liked this inside look at an NFL football player that had so much potential.

Music:

All things Elton John – Duh. See above.

Take What You Want – Post Malone/Ozzy Osborne – LOVE!

Don’t Start Now – Dua Lipa – Love the beat; catchy tune.

Books:

ME by: Elton John – again, duh. See above.

The Sun Down Motel – Just the right amount of spooky and mystery! I couldn’t put it down!

Podcasts:

  • Oprah + Lady Gaga – The two queens together on the same podcast. This was an amazing interview and I’m so grateful that Lady Gaga is using her influential platform to spread good into the world – especially as it relates to mental health.
  • This is terrible, but I can’t find the correct podcast to reference. However, one of the bookish podcasts I listen to (I want to say it’s one related to Kirkus Reviews) talked about the list the New York Puplic Library put out ranking the most popular books checked out in 2019 in New York and in Washington, DC. For comparison, I also googled LA and Denver:
  • 10 Things I Want To Tell You: Should We Post Our Kids on Social Media? (Laura Tremaine) – I’m of the mind that children should be able to write their own narrative. But I didn’t actually think this way until my kids were old enough to verbalize that to me for themselves. I’m thankful I never posted humiliating stories or photos of them (yes, I’ve seen them. i.e.: potty training)…I would have been mortified had my mom written about all the foes of growing up – from potty training to temper tantrums to friend issues. Our entire lives do not have to be broadcasted…and we shouldn’t be broadcasting our children’s lives before they’re old enough to understand the implications of things living on in infamy in the Cloud. I know this is a divisive topic, but I’d love to hear where you fall on the issue!

Articles:

 

 

My Week in Books {2/7/20}

I’m two days late on this post, but life has been a little hectic. My grandpa had some health issues and I have had to take over some daily care for him. My reading life is definetly suffering, but I wouldn’t have it any other way!

This weekend we have a bit of a drive to my daughter’s basketball tournament and I will be able to get some good reading in during that, so to say I’m looking forward to it is an understatement!

In case you missed them, here are some links to my recent posts:

What have you been reading (and loving) this week?

Last Week’s Reads:

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📖 *** The Sun Down Motel by: Simone St. James (Berkley) – Pub Date: February 18, 2020

I LOVED this book! The perfect amount of mystery and spookiness and pacing. I read this book in less than 24 hours because I couldn’t put it down! St. James is now on my autobuy author list, as I also loved her first book, The Broken Girls!

Currently Reading:

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📖 *** Lovely War by: Julie Berry (Viking Books for Young Readers) – Pub Date: March 5, 2019

I just started this one yesterday and I can already tell it’s going to be a 4- or 5-star read for me. The premise is so unique – weaving in mythology with the story of 4 young people and their love stories as they navigate through World War I. The writing is absolutely beautiful and I can’t wait to spend more time in Berry’s world!

DNF (aka: Not For Me and/or Skipping For Now):

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📱 *** When We Were Vikings by: Andrew David MacDonald (Scout Press) – Pub Date: January 28, 2020

Everyone seems to love this one and I seem to be in the minority in my opinions, but I can’t get over the use of the r-word, the f-word, or what seems to be the sexual conquest of Zelda, a character with fetal alcohol syndrome. While I appreciate what I think the author is trying to do, he didn’t accomplish it for me. The continual references to the Vikings began to be repetitive to me and became an extremely boring part of the book. I liked Gert fine, but AK47 was probably my favorite character in the book. Overall, this book reminded me of Eleonor Oliphant Is Fine, another book I didn’t care for.

DNF @ 49%

📱 *** The Mountains Sing by: Nguyen Phan Que Mai (Algonquin) – Pub Date: March 17, 2020

The writing is clunky and the sentences too simplistic for my writing. Some of the metaphors feel forced. Just not cohesive enough to gain my attention.

DNF at 18%

📱 *** Strung Out: One Last Hit and Other Lies That Nearly Killed Me by: Erin Khar (Park Row) – On Shelves: February 25, 2020

I wanted the motivation behind using, but at 23% in, we’re still talking about boyfriends and failed relationships. It was lacking any sort of depth; I struggled to care.

DNF at 23%

📖 Little Women by: Louisa May Alcott ( Roberts Brothers) – Pub Date: September 30, 1868

I wanted to care so, so much…but I just didn’t. It sat on my table for most of January, begging me to read it, but the little that I did was just so incredibly boring for me. I think this is exactly why I don’t read classics!

DNF at 1%

#DNFingWithoutApologyin2020

February 2020 TBR

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I’m participating in the Unread Shelf Challenge hosted by Whitney at The Unread Shelf, and I learned a few things last month. First, I need a better system to track books in and out of the house. Next, I have to be more conscious of the books I’m acquiring if I’m ever going to tackle the amount of books on my shelves (you can’t have more coming in than going out in the quantities I had!). And last, getting to some of those books that have been on my shelf for awhile felt so good! I can’t wait to fine tune my skills so I can have that feeling of success when December 2020 comes to a close!

This month’s Unread Shelf Challenge is to read books gifted to you – from a friend/family member, a publisher, or any other source!

To help me whiddle down my books, I have a few categories I’d like to try to hit each month:

Other books up for consideration:

There you have it! What’s on your list of hopefuls for the month of February?

January 2020 Reading Wrap-up

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At the beginning of January, I set some lofty goals to try to get through some of the #unreadbooks already on my shelves. I FAILED MASSIVELY…but more on that later!

January By the Numbers:

  • Total Books Read: 11
  • Audiobooks: 0
  • Five Star Reads: 2
  • Unread Shelf: 8 (2 DNFs)
  • Books Aquired: 52
  • By Women Authors: 10 (3 DNFs)
  • By Authors of Color: 1
  • By Queer Authors: 1
  • Nonfiction Reads: 2 (1 DNF)
  • Debuts: 7
  • Published in 2020: 7 (1 DNF)

Favorite Books of January: Me, A Curse So Dark and Lonely, and The Sun Down Motel

Here is a look at the TBR I set:

  • A Nonfiction Title – 📖 The Library Book by: Susan Orlean
    • ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 For most of the book I was fascinated by the history, not only of the Los Angeles Public Library, but libraries in general. It got a little long, but I think librarians and book readers that have a special spot for Los Angeles would really enjoy this one!
  • A NetGalley/Edelweiss Title  – 📱 Such A Fun Age by: Kiley Reid
    • ⭐️⭐️⭐️ I know I’m in the #unpopularopinion category with this one, but I feel like Reid was trying to accomplish too much. There were a lot of aspects explored throughout the book, but none of them executed well (in my opinion).
  • A Memoir – 📖 Me by: Elton John
    • ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Thank goodness for Elton John or this entire month may have been a bust! I loved this honest and raw look into Elton John’s life…and it just reaffirmed my love for him!

I also read the following books:

  • 📖 *** Saint X by: Alexis Schaitkin
    • ⭐️⭐️⭐️ This one started off strong but lost its steam about halfway through. It could have been so good!
  • 📖 *** Followers by: Megan Angelo
    • ⭐️⭐️⭐️ I’m sorry to say that I completely missed the whole point of this book (The Spill) and had to have a reader DM me to explain. I KNOW it wasn’t the fault of the book as much as it was my own headspace (I read it during an emotional week). I would absolutely seek out others’ reviews before making a decision on this one…what I read was engaging, I just couldn’t concentrate enough to grab the jist.
  • 📖 *** The Wolf Wants In by: Laura McHugh
    • ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ A deeply nuanced, dark, and gritty literary mystery that explores themes of poverty, drugs, and grief. It’s not a long book – under 300 pages – but it certainly left an impression on me!
  • 📖 A Curse So Dark and Lonely (Cursebreakers, #1) by: Brigid Kemmerer
    • ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 I really enjoyed this fantasy/fairytale world and it may have just pulled me out of the month long reading slump I’ve been in!
  • 📖 *** The Sun Down Motel by: Simone St. James
    • ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ I LOVED this book! The perfect amount of mystery and spookiness and pacing. I read this book in less than 24 hours because I couldn’t put it down! St. James is now on my autobuy author list, as I also loved her first book, The Broken Girls!

I tried, but wasn’t feeling:

  • 📖 The Garden of Small Beginnings by: Abbi Waxman
    • I believe Abby Waxman’s writing style just isn’t for me. It is just too sweet and tidy…maybe it’s the place I’m at in my reading life, but this one just wasn’t holding my attention.

Unread Shelf Update:

After just one month of participation in the #unreadshelf project, I now understand why I have a plethora of books! (Also, here is where I failed for the first month…but with awareness comes the ability to figure out solutions!)

I acquired 52 books this month! Yes, you read that right…52! Tracking these numbers cleared up why I feel overwhelmed in my reading life – there’s just no way I can ever read enough to get caught up! It also reinforces the fact that I need to be more conscious of the books I bring into my home. No matter what I say, massive amounts of books on my shelves overwhelms me, makes me feel like I need to read (hello, this is a hobby, not a job!), and stresses me out.

Today, I’m going to recount the books on my shelves. (Unfortunately, I took several boxes of books to my local library to donate and forget to count them! I definitely need a better system moving forward to more accurately track the books coming in and out of my house!) I also can’t remember if I counted books on my kindle – both ARCs and purchased books – so I need to be sure I have those included.

For now,

I acquired 52 books in January (I only purchased 7 of these! 😳)

I donated/unloaded 25 books

I gained 27 books for a new total of 444 books on my shelves!

(I started with 417, so I’m clearly headed in the wrong direction! 🤦🏼‍♀️)

There are so many things I need to do differently, but I’m grateful to this challenge and the month of January for showing me where I need to make some progress!